Way back, when I was in art college, we were given the task of coming up with poster ideas for the redevelopment of a local town’s market square. You might think, correctly, that this was way before targeting by splitting email marketing lists, but my lack of precision as to audience got my original design rejected. The heading was, ‘The Shape of the Square is Changing’. Those on the panel, councillors all, thought it too obscure.
Imagine my feelings when, over last weekend, I was reading a design magazine, to discover a featured artist had been praised for a poster which read, ‘The Square is Changing Shape’. No one mentioned obscure. It was shown on a bus shelter, the very location I designed for.
It’s no good being a brilliant designer without taking into account the tastes and aspirations of customers. The marketing email must appeal to those we want to sell to. It’s easy enough to say, but knowing people’s taste is difficult.
The first thing you must ignore is your own preferences, unless, that is, you are selling to those of your age, background and situation in life who are also running email marketing companies. So that’s a no then. You could research the taste of those you are targeting, but that’s expensive. Another no.
Or else you can copy others.
The magazine in which I found the plagiarism of my design in is aimed at the young, imaginative designers leaving art college for careers in digital graphics. It is self-consciously cool, with-it, switched-on, hip, etc., which can be a bit wearing for someone whose heavy metal credentials end with hip joints. It is the place to go to discover what young artists think is cool, with-it, whatever. It’s very niche.
Magazines aimed at a wider readership, such as women who are, or aspire to be, fashionable, give a better direction. They can be very specific. A casual glance along the shelves of your local magazine retailer for those aimed at your target audience will show you what they want; more importantly, what they will expect. Your subscribers probably don’t wear the clothes featured, go to the locations shown or drive a Tesla, but they will recognise the design themes.
You want to show the subscribers to your particular email marketing list that you share their dreams and know what they want. The design of marketing emails and website should reassure them that they can trust you, because you know their desires.
Whilst the shape of the square might be changing, targeting remains the one eternal requirement.